The Drowned Suburb

The Sunken Palace of Cleopatra at Antirhodus  

The Sunken Palace of Cleopatra at Antirhodus

 

And now it's time to practise what I preach. This final post features a passage from one of my bigger world building projects; a very rough first draft, but hopefully it demonstrates some of the concepts I've been chatting about thus far. Below that, you'll find a few more fun primers. Remember to always read, write, and explore with care; always create with a warm heart and an open mind.

Good luck out there, in all those myriad worlds.


Santa Gonzaga was a joke the City played on the Lago Salina Hybor, year after year.

The old suburb had been built almost seventy years ago, to put up the Hybor that came in from all corners of the country to work on the Cap City Reservoir. Nobody had the knack for canal-works and artificial lakes like the folk of Lago Salina. The City fathers had provided cheap dormitories for the workers, but the Hybor were the ones who took it upon themselves to build the shrine of Santa Gonzaga, establish markets and council halls, and rear their children with the understanding that though they worked for the City now, their real provenance belonged to fabled salt flats in a far-away province.

The young people almost always went back to Lago Salina for the salt harvest, but salt mining was less of a vocation for their generation than it had been for their ancestors. Increasingly they associated the City with modernity and progress, and the salt flats with backwards traditionalism. The city fathers rewarded that kind of thinking with gifts and educational bonuses, and the number of Hybor leaving to mine the salt dwindled each year.

The year of the flood, half the community—the half lovingly built by Hybor hands—was submerged and remained submerged, in a new lake that was thereafter called Lago Lagrima: another salt lake, after a fashion. The irony was lost on nobody.

And where were the city fathers when Santa Gonzaga was flooded? Where was their generosity when the community lay ten feet under water? They were looking towards their other neighbourhoods and boroughs: Palladia, of the broad avenues and row houses; the Haarl, of the theatres and markets; St. Horne-In-The-Fields, of the Royal Mint and the turkey-necked bureaucrats. Santa Gonzaga was forced to shrive for itself as the reservoir trembled before gushing torrents of raging river.

You could still row a boat through the old neighbourhood. The ruins of the dormitories rose up out of the water like chalky white bones, and the spired roof of the shrine rose out of the lake like a breathing tube. The Hybor who favoured Gonzaga took their rafts and longboats to the old shrine for prayers and tributes of smoke and sweets.

The streets of "New Gonzaga" (another joke, in very bad taste) were narrower than the old ones…

 



Eleanor Fogolin is a student of writing. She holds a master’s degree in literature from Memorial University. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in The New Quarterly, Cactus Heart Press, and Drunken Muse Press. She currently resides in Ottawa. Her pastimes include mythmaking, over thinking, and coffee-drinking.

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